Posted: 22/05/2014 at 18:09
I have a mixed bed that is riddled with couch grass and celandine. I have gritted my teeth through the celandine invasion, but now the couch grass is taking over and I'm itching to murder it! But I'm not sure when the best time of year will be to haul everything up and go through it with a fine tooth comb, without too greatly harming the plants that I want to keep. I've been putting it off for years for one plant or another, but would like some advice.
The plants in the bed that I would like to preserve are:
- two miserable overgrown heathers that have just finished flowering and need to be planted deeper to get rid of the bald bit in the middle;
- a miserable rose that's not flowered for years and is barely clinging to life;
- an abundance of cyclamen that has spread throughout the bed, and is currently at the fascinating seed pod stage;
- a small patch of spanish bluebells, currently leaves and seed pods;
- a large very old and happy yellow potentilla;
- a huge rosemary tree(!);
- a great swathe of day lilies that are about to flower - I need to shrink these back because they've taken over, but would not have to dig them all up as they have crowded out much of the couch grass;
- a great patch of comfrey that is taking over and is, of course, indestructible;
- a honeysuckle;
- one or two oriental poppies;
- a patch of giant daisies just coming into their own;
- one or two large euphorbias that are just finishing flowering;
- a peony that's just finished flowering;
- a hibiscus or twenty, just coming into leaf;
- a carpet of creeping jenny;
- and some tulip bulbs.
I think that's all that's there that's likely to be affected by my couch grass and celandine war. I thought hey, I should do it in autumn because that's when everything's dormant, right? But then the cyclamen comes into its own and I don't want to even step near it let alone haul it up lest I break it. So now I'm wondering if now would be the better time? Or is it too hot now to be exposing roots and stressing the plants out?
Any advice anyone? When can I cause the lease damage by "moving" these plants? Should I wait for the cyclamen to disappear below ground? For the day lilies to flower? For autumn? Earlier next spring?
Thank you for any replies. I know this is a lot to ask! It's a massive job and I've been putting it off for years, but that space could be used so much better if the couch grass, celandine, day lilies and comfrey weren't so abundant.